Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Cat lover’s political conflict in Jerusalem – Shanghai Daily (subscription)

IT is nearly midnight when Tova Saul, an Orthodox Jew, approaches the Muslim quarter of Jerusalems Old City, carrying two large cases and a variety of contraptions.

Within an hour, a row will have started that will see four people, including Saul, dragged to a police station. But for now shes searching for cats.

For more than two decades she has fed and cared for hundreds of cats, earning the informal title of the walled Old Citys cat lady. Its not a nickname she likes.

When people refer to me as the cat lady, they are actually defining everybody else as people who wont lift a finger to help an animal in need. So really its an insult to the human race, she said.

The labyrinthine Old City, nearly a square kilometer and home to some of the holiest sites in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, hosts hundreds, perhaps thousands of alley cats. Across Jerusalem there are more than 100,000 strays, with only a limited government plan to deal with the problems they pose. But there is Saul and a few other volunteers.

Saul, who is unmarried, came to Israel in the 1980s from the United States and has been caring for animals ever since.

Since she started counting in 2009 she has caught and had spayed over 600 cats, while feeding thousands more.

Six hundred and twenty cats having kittens they can have kittens two or three times a year, each cat having three or four kittens at a time, she said. Most of those kittens die after a lot of suffering and literally hundreds of people walking past them, watching them go blind, watching them crying for their mothers, or being eaten alive by fleas.

Last year, she spent US$15,000 of her own money on the cats, with just US$7,000 in donations.

The rest of her time, Saul, who is in her fifties, is a tour guide and Airbnb host.

The municipality used to poison strays but that programme was scrapped more than a decade ago, said Assaf Brill, head of the citys veterinary service.

They rely on volunteers and Saul is one of the citys most active working in areas many Jewish people are unwilling to visit. She started in the Old Citys Jewish Quarter, where she lives in a two-bedroom flat currently filled with five cats and six kittens.

Within a few years she has trapped and had spayed all the female cats in the Jewish Quarter.

Saul goes on a mission in the Muslim Quarter on an average night.

As an Israeli American who speaks only one phrase of badly pronounced Arabic, Allah and Mohammed want big strong men to be nice to animals, she said.

There have been a few times where they (Palestinians) have said: What are you doing? And I explain to them and they look at me and they have these big brown eyes, these beautiful eyes, and they say: Wow, thank you. You have a good heart.

She usually likes to work between one and five in the morning when the streets are deserted. This night starts earlier.

As she enters the Old City and sets up her baited traps three ultra-Orthodox Jewish men stop and stand by the trap.

Saul asks them, politely at first, to move on but they refuse. Within a few minutes the scene escalates.

The Nazis behaved exactly like that, one man said. Hitler kissed his dog at the same time as sending people to the crematorium.

Saul is incandescent. A Jew calling another Jew a Nazi? she shouted.

She throws hummus at the man, splattering his back. Police arrive and all four are taken to the station. After half-hearted apologies, they are released without charges, but by now it is nearly 2:30am.

Saul heads back to the car to grab her traps. For Jerusalems cat lady, the night is just getting started.

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Cat lover’s political conflict in Jerusalem – Shanghai Daily (subscription)

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Jerusalem parents: Say no to haredi-ization of Jerusalem school – Arutz Sheva

Over 200 Jerusalem parents sent an urgent letter to Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), opposing the Jerusalem municipality’s decision to move the religious public school Brandet from its campus in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood in order to use the campus for a haredi school.

The parents, all Religious Zionists, submitted an administrative appeal against the the process of moving the school to where the Shefa school currently is, in order to give Brandet’s current building to an independent haredi school.

“We absolutely oppose this action, which is not correct educationally and severely harms the National Religious public, as well as the secular and moderate haredi public in Neve Yaakov. And this is besides the fact that the move is not being handled the way the law stipulates it should be,” the parents wrote.

The parents also noted that according to Education Ministry policies, an Education Ministry school cannot be moved from its building in order to give the building to an independent school, unless the Ministry approves the move.

“This issue is under your and your ministry’s jurisdiction,” the parents wrote. “Besides for the fact that moving our school is not the proper thing to do for the public or the children’s education, it also opposes the Education Ministry’s policies. Therefore, we are asking you not to go along with this process, and not to approve it.”

Yisrael Elishevitz, who heads Neve Yaakov’s Religious Zionist community, told Arutz Sheva that “in Jerusalem, there is an extremist haredi group who wants either to divide Jerusalem, or to have a population swap. The religious community has become a black sheep, and the city is turning haredi.”

“Now the keys are in the hands of Education Minister Naftali Bennett. He needs to sign a form approving Jerusalem’s decision to move a Religious Zionist school for the sake of a haredi school.

“According to the law, such a move requires at least six months prior warning.

“I call on Minister Bennett not to give in, and not to sign.”

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Jerusalem parents: Say no to haredi-ization of Jerusalem school – Arutz Sheva

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Jerusalem Drops Plan to Build Luxury Homes Atop Ancient Palestinian Village – Haaretz

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Jerusalem city council members objected to building 200 luxury villas on abandoned Palestinian village of Lifta, whose future will now undergo further consideration

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Palestinians to court: remove settlers from Hebron home – The Jerusalem Post

The home in Hebron currently illegally occupied by 15 settler families. (photo credit:TOVAH LAZAROFF)

The Abu Rajab family petitioned the High Court of Justice this week to force the state to remove 15 settler families from a three-story building in Hebron.

The state and the IDF have until Wednesday to respond.

The Hebron Jewish families illegally moved into the structure, known as Beit Hamachpela, on July 24, five years after they first made a purchase claim to the property, which is registered to the Rajab family.

The Jewish families have asked the state to allow them to remain until the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria registers the property in their name.

Members of the Rajab family have contested the sale.

Their attorney, Samer Shadadeh, argued in the petition that the IDFs failure to immediately remove the families breached a legal agreement, which forbade the settlers from using or living in the structure until the Civil Administration authenticated the sale and all legal and bureaucratic procedures were concluded.

The settlers should be legally viewed as squatters who have broken into the property, Shadadeh argued.

The Rajab family has a right to expect that the IDF would treat them as such, and immediately help the Rajab family by removing them from the building, he said.

The lawyer for the Hebron families, Doron Nir Zvi, said it was already clear that the sale would be authenticated and therefore there was no reason to deny the families access to the site.

The Defense Ministry has given them the right to purchase the property. The military arbitration court has ordered the Civil Administration to fully review the application by the settlers to register the property in their name.

There is no reason to delay here, he said.

After the families moved in, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the IDF not to immediately remove them.

Since then there have been ongoing discussion between his office, the Defense Ministry, the Civil Administration and the Attorney-Generals Office to explore the familys legal right to inhabit the property.

The families have received support from a number of prominent Likud members, including coalition chairman David Bitan, who has made two trips to the City of the Forefathers since they moved in.

Authenticating the sale has been complicated in part because the building was inherited by a number of heirs from the Rajab family.

Among the issues in question is whether the sale was done through a family member with rights to the property.

The structure is located across the parking lot from the Cave of the Patriarchs and next to two schools, in an otherwise Palestinian neighborhood.

It is a section of the city that is under Israeli military and civilian control.

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Palestinians to court: remove settlers from Hebron home – The Jerusalem Post

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Five terrorists nabbed en route to attack near Jerusalem – Arutz Sheva

Security forces avert terror attack near Jerusalem Thursday, capture five Arab terrorists.

David Rosenberg, 10/08/17 17:59 | updated: 18:03

Israeli authorities captured five terrorists on their way to commit a terror attack east of Jerusalem Thursday afternoon.

The five terrorists, all residents of the Hevron region in Judea, were arrested in al-Eizariya, a Palestinian Authority-controlled city just east of Jerusalem.

The arrest was carried out by members of the Yamam special police force unit of the Border Police in a joint operation with Israel Police. Shortly before the arrest, the Shin Bet internal security agency reportedly received concrete information regarding an attack planned by the terror cell.

According to security officials, the terror cell was a ticking time-bomb, Channel 10 reported, and the arrest of the five likely averted an imminent attack.

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Five terrorists nabbed en route to attack near Jerusalem – Arutz Sheva

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Polish villagers hold Jewish wedding without Jews – The Jerusalem Post

Nostalgia for Jews is a well-documented phenomenon in Eastern Europe, with cultural and even substantial commercial aspects.

In Ukraine, so-called Jewish-themed restaurants with pork-heavy menus compete for tourists, while figurines of Jews are sold at markets as good luck charms. In Poland, graffiti reading I miss you, Jew have become a common sight.

Beyond the kitsch, Jewish cultural festivals draw large non-Jewish audiences in Krakow, Warsaw and Budapest.

Some credit this trend to a feeling of loss over the near annihilation of once-vibrant Jewish communities. Others trace it a desire to reconnect with the pre-Soviet past.

But even against this backdrop, the fake Jewish wedding that was held Saturday in the village of Radzanw, 80 miles northeast of Warsaw, stands out as a remarkable affair.

Make-believe Jewish weddings a regular educational event in Spain and Portugal, where nostalgia for nearly-extinct Jewish communities is also prevalent are rare in Poland (locals in the village of Bobowa organized one in 2013). Even rarer are enactments as well-produced as the one in Radzanow.

Organized by the Radzanovia Association, a cultural group promoting Polish heritage, the event featured a few dozen non-Jewish volunteers, men and women, dressed in traditional haredi costumes. Some men wore fake beards and side curls including ones that didnt match their natural hair color.

Portraying the groom was Piotr Czaplicki, a journalist for the Radia dla Ciebie station. Czaplicki, who is not Jewish, got under a chuppah the canopy used in traditional Jewish weddings together with his make-believe bride, Julia Brzeziska, a local resident. They were wed by a fake rabbi in a show before villagers, whom the events organizers sought to teach about Jewish traditions.

To Jonny Daniels, the London-born founder of From the Depths, which promotes Holocaust commemoration in Poland, events like the one in Radzanw are some kind of therapy taking place all over the country.

“Literally hundreds of Jewish cultural festivals are taking place, more often than not with no Jews involved. Poland too has the highest rate of Hebrew language studies in all of Europe,” Daniels continued to The Jerusalem Post. “I truly believe that the third and fourth generation of Poles since the Holocaust are starting to see how much Jewish culture is part of modern-day Polish culture — it’s amazing that this heritage created by 3.5 million murdered Jews is still relevant today.”

But the events producer, Agnieszka Rychcik-Nowakowska, sees it as a way of commemorating the hundreds of Jews who had accounted for approximately half of her villages population before the Holocaust.

We want to remember all those homes of all pre-war Jews, who lived a peaceful life punctuated by the rhythm of holidays, family celebrations and more mundane events, she told the news site Nasza Mlawa.

Jews first settled in Radzanw in 1710, and at their peak numbered about 500. By September 1939, when the Germans took over, the population had dipped below 300. Nearly all who remained would be sent to the Mlawa ghetto, never to return.

We remember those who lived here before us and entered the memory of our grandmothers and grandparents. It was so recently, said Rychcik-Nowakowska.

Elsewhere in Europe, Jewish-themed festivals are more common , bringing together hundreds of participants. There too, Jewish-themed events are held in the absence of a living, breathing Jewish community thanks to nostalgia and a desire to generate tourism revenue.

But in Spain and Portugal, for example, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were oppressed 500 years ago during the Inquisition, the passage of time has made goodwill gestures toward Jews less complicated than in the east. In 2013, Spain and Portugal even passed laws granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews a move whose generosity contrasts sharply with the refusal by Poland and other East European countries to offer even partial restitution for property that was stolen from Jewish communities.

At the fake wedding in Radzanw, organizers turned to Teresa Wroska, an actress from the Jewish Theater in Warsaw, to assure the weddings authenticity. She choreographed the entire affair from the signing of the ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract) to the traditional Jewish music played by a band of locals and musicians from the capital.

Even the POLIN Jewish museum of Warsaw was consulted in staging the event, according to Nasza Mlawa.

The wedding is not the only attempt by Radzanw locals to reconnect with their villages lost Jewish heritage. Last year, a high school student from the region, Cuba Balinski, initiated a project aimed at rededicating and reopening the villages abandoned synagogue a small but beautiful Moorish-style building that miraculously survived the Nazi occupation.

Balinski, who has secured the cooperation of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland for his project but is still looking for investors, is adamant about restoring the synagogue to a house of worship rather than having it turn into museum.

If there is no Torah in the synagogue, than it is still just a building, he told the news site Gosc Plocki. But if we bring the holy book back, it will come back to life.

Jpost staff contributed to this story.

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All you need is love – The Jerusalem Post

Taking a trendy yesteryear adjectival leaf out of the lingo of the day, the epithet fab easily springs to mind on visiting The Beatles exhibition currently in full delightful flow at the Israel Childrens Museum in Holon. The exhibition, which goes by the name The Magical Mystery Tour, is everything you could hope for from a visual, aural and tactile display of memorabilia and cleverly crafted accessories devoted to the worlds most famous pop group.

The tour starts out with a short movie that gets you in the mood.

It conveys the spirit and sounds of the Fab Four and the zeitgeist of 1960s Britain through subtle musical editing and interweaving animation with real-life film footage. The movie takes you on a whistle stop tour of the bands evolution personally and musically. You follow the temporally brief, but conceptually expansive, continuum from the early rock n roll monochrome days of matching suits and babyfaced smiles through to the psychedelically scented polychromatic hippie era of long hair and substance-affected creativity. Not that the latter is alluded to in the film per se.

This is designed to get everyone on board people who are into The Beatles and people who have no idea about them, explains exhibition director Tali Shemer.

It is a bit difficult to believe there is anyone on the planet who is unaware of The Beatles, but perhaps that is my Western cultural upbringing coming into play.

There are some people who dont know about them, she continues. But whether the visitors know about them or not, they still leave the exhibition with an enriching experience and lots of knowledge.

She and museum content manager Tal Rubinstein put a lot of effort into getting the project off the ground.

We worked on this for two years, she notes.

The exhibition venture, to paraphrase a certain Beatles number, got by with a little help from a generous friend. Just when Shemer was about to give up on the dream, Russian-born Israeli businessman and philanthropist Leonid Nevzlin came into the frame and picked up the tab.

That really saved us, says Shemer. We thought this was all going to remain just a great idea we had, until Leonid came along.

For my generation, the music of The Beatles and The Beatles themselves were the basic values, says 57-year-old Nevzlin. The Beatles were a symbol of freedom, creativity and love. That was why it was so important for me to convey my love and admiration to my children and to the children of Israel.

The exhibition is designed for all comers aged five to 99. As someone who tends to the upper end of that age spectrum, I can vouch for its appeal. Mind you, I did get some of The Beatles vibe of the era back in 1960s northern Britain, but The Magical Mystery Tour is so well devised, it could probably get a Martian into the Fab Four groove.

There is much to marvel at visually, but there is also plenty to get into in the hands-on sense. How many of us have ever been to a recording studio? How many of us have, for example, ever seen a sitar, let alone touched one? That can be experienced firsthand in the studio incorporated in the Holon layout. It includes a drum kit, electric guitars, a violin-shaped bass guitar, similar to the famous Hofner model used by Paul McCartney, and a sitar that George Harrison brought to The Beatles musical modus operandi in the mid-1960s.

The staged facility is accessed via a corridor with faux red brick walls, adorned with a slew of black-andwhite prints of the group members and some of their professional colleagues, with the sign Abbey Road on one side. And if having actual musical instruments within hands reach werent enough, there is a huge 24-track mixer console on the other side of the studio window.

Visitors can move the volume knobs (faders) up and down to get an idea of how the recording engineer plays around with the individual instrumental lines. Fancy hearing how McCartney played his bass part? No problem. Want to add some backing vocals and maybe Ringos drumming? Just move all the faders to zero, and then push up the respective buttons to the volume you want.

There is plenty in the way of historical facts on offer as well, to get the visitor into the right place in the 20th century commercial music timeline. One room is full of archival photographs, milestones in the groups evolution across the years, from 1962 through to 1970, when the Fab Four, for all intents and purposes, broke up. The visual esthetics are greatly enhanced by some evocative garb, including the sumptuous threads worn by McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Starr for the iconic cover of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band album, which came out in 1967.

The accent on The Magical Mystery Tour is very much on getting stuck in. There are interactive slots right across the board, including a general knowledge quiz about the four Beatles, and kids can actually get up close to a record player.

When they get here, the guide asks the children how they listen to music, Shemer explains, on their cell phone, on YouTube or iPad.

Then the guide shows them how people once listened to music and puts the [Beatles] LP on.

There is also a room where kids, and parents and grandparents, can don Beatles suits from the early days or from the aforementioned Sgt. Pepper style coats, getting on a stage and play a Beatles song.

The gig is videoed against a green screen backdrop, unbeknown to the performers, who later get to see themselves in action.

Naturally, the visitors get to hear lots of Fab Four sounds as they make their way through the exhibition, which culminates with a lovely creative activity. The last room has a large screen on one wall and a number of stations with small screens and headphones.

We took clips of people from all over the world of all ages playing All You Need Is Love we asked their permission to use them and kids can take excerpts from each version and put together their own clip of the whole song, says Shemer. You can see how music and the music of The Beatles connects people from all kinds of cultures.

It also helps Israelis of all ages to bond with each other and with the timeless music of the Fab Four.

The Magical Mystery Tour exhibition is on display at the Israel Childrens Museum in Holon. For more information: (03) 650-3000 and www.childrensmuseum.org.il

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Israeli Supreme Court Trims Sentence of 13-year-old Behind Jerusalem Stabbing Attacks – Haaretz

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Ahmed Manasra will now serve nine and a half years, not 12, for his role in the stabbing of another 13-year-old and a yeshiva student in 2015

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At 70, Jerusalem’s Jewish Studies ‘Olympics’ still a good brain workout – The Times of Israel

Seventy years ago, the first World Congress of Jewish Studies at Jerusalems Hebrew University embodied the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Yocheved Herschlag Muffs. But that was not because of its first-class scholarship: When immigration to British Mandatory Palestine was blocked, the congress offered the New Yorker an unlikely way into the Holy Land.

There were no visas; we couldnt get there, to Palestine, the 90-year-old told The Times of Israel this week. And so a ruse was launched: Muffs would be granted documents allowing her entrance provided she could obtain a letter stating she was a Hebrew teacher sent to the conference by a recognized institution.

There were only two problems: she didnt really know Hebrew and she wasnt a teacher at a recognized institution.

Muffs, a stalwart member of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, had dropped out of college to learn how to milk cows and clean their excrement during farming training camps in Canada. Many of her cohort did in fact teach Hebrew at least part-time and so had little trouble obtaining the required letter.

But Muffs was stuck.

Yocheved Herschlag Muffs celebrating her recent 90th birthday on August 5, 2017 (Courtesy)

Suddenly, she recalled that her old friend Miriam was the office manager at the new Yeshiva of Central Queens. As a favor, Muffs asked her friend for a letter affirming her affiliation with the institution. But Miriam, devoutly religious and from a pious family, was reluctant to falsify information and asked her mother for advice.

To go to Eretz Yisrael, you can lie, said her mother.

So I got the letter. And then with the letter we went to the British Consulate in New York, in Manhattan. And it was a legitimate letter: I was a teacher there and they were sending me to the conference. And this year its celebrating its 70th year, Muffs said.

Although immigration was definitely not the main goal of the first congress, held in July 1947 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus, it was organized with the help of the Jewish Agency, headed by David Ben-Gurion.

Prime minister David Ben-Gurion addresses the opening session of the 2nd World Congress of Jewish Studies in 1957. (PMO)

At the opening sessions, Bible scholar Naftali Herz Torczyner (Tur-Sinai), head of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University, said, With pride and hesitation, in holy awe and happiness that a cornerstone was laid here for the building of the culture of our nation and our land, we hereby open the First World Congress of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as a foundation stone for a future tradition.

That foundation stone laid back in 1947 has turned into a scholarly empire today. Whereas the first conference saw 75 papers presented, this year there were some 1,700 lecturers. Over 3,000 participants attended the 500 panels held during the week-long event August 6-10.

For many, some of the most important moments of the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem August 6-10, 2017 were in the meeting points between sessions. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

Throughout the maze-like compound of the Hebrew Universitys Humanities building, scholars, students and laymen scrambled down its technicolor octagonal halls to take advantage of a multitude of sessions on Bible, language, history, philosophy, literature, archaeology, and many very esoteric subjects relating to the different epochs of the Jewish people.

There was a constant audible buzz of activity as participants darted from one session to another, sometimes even leaving in the middle of a session to catch a more favored scholar elsewhere. With dozens of choices in each time slot, the event was like an academics version of binge-watching on Netflix with an option for childcare.

Held every four years at Hebrew University since the second congress in 1957, it allows for a meeting of minds between established professors and those who wish to walk in their footsteps. It is a place where smiling emeritus professors are given their due honor, while nervous doctoral students reap the benefits of knowledgable critique. As conceived in its inception, the congress is meant to be a safe space to test new ideas and get feedback that is worth hearing.

Fair-like booths at the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on August 6-10, 2017. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

Winding their way around the plethora of fair-like booths hawking books, computer programs, and private learning institutions, Israels finest and internationally known professors floated in and out throughout the week in an atmosphere of semi-controlled chaos. Whether they come for the common areas kibbitz-fest or to present new research, the camaraderie between the scholars was evident. For some, it is the weeks main draw.

Prime minister Yitzhak Shamir (left) and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek flank Prof. Ephraim Urback at the 10th World Congress of Jerusalem Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 1989. (Tzvika Israeli/PMO)

Inside the cramped classrooms, there were sessions that could be likened to sporting matches. Tempers flared over finer points, or the audience oohed over the presenters mental gymnastics. In poorly climate-controlled rooms with terrible acoustics, in-jokes abounded as scholars in related fields appreciated the most abstruse niche jargon wordplay.

In one session hosted by the Academy of the Hebrew Language, an unresolved impassioned conversation about verb tenses ensued after a presentation about technology soon to be released to the public. In another about Second Temple archaeology, the lecturer and an older participant agreed to disagree on the true basis of why oil lamps changed their form in Judea.

This congress is not for the faint of mind: At two hours a pop, mental stamina is required to fully appreciate each sessions four research papers. Personally, the brain of this reporter no scholar began protesting after two PowerPoint presentations on rarified arcana.

Thats why it was especially refreshing to hear a midday pick-me-up performance on Wednesday of the Piyyut Ensemble of the Ben Zvi Institute, which launched its new CD Arba Otiyot: Sacred Hebrew Songs from the Saharan Maghreb. After a foot-stomping, hand-clapping good time chased by a cup of joe it was back to the books with a clear head for another marathon afternoon in the Jewish Studies Olympics.

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At 70, Jerusalem’s Jewish Studies ‘Olympics’ still a good brain workout – The Times of Israel

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Cat lover’s political conflict in Jerusalem – Shanghai Daily (subscription)

IT is nearly midnight when Tova Saul, an Orthodox Jew, approaches the Muslim quarter of Jerusalems Old City, carrying two large cases and a variety of contraptions. Within an hour, a row will have started that will see four people, including Saul, dragged to a police station. But for now shes searching for cats. For more than two decades she has fed and cared for hundreds of cats, earning the informal title of the walled Old Citys cat lady. Its not a nickname she likes. When people refer to me as the cat lady, they are actually defining everybody else as people who wont lift a finger to help an animal in need. So really its an insult to the human race, she said. The labyrinthine Old City, nearly a square kilometer and home to some of the holiest sites in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, hosts hundreds, perhaps thousands of alley cats. Across Jerusalem there are more than 100,000 strays, with only a limited government plan to deal with the problems they pose. But there is Saul and a few other volunteers. Saul, who is unmarried, came to Israel in the 1980s from the United States and has been caring for animals ever since. Since she started counting in 2009 she has caught and had spayed over 600 cats, while feeding thousands more. Six hundred and twenty cats having kittens they can have kittens two or three times a year, each cat having three or four kittens at a time, she said. Most of those kittens die after a lot of suffering and literally hundreds of people walking past them, watching them go blind, watching them crying for their mothers, or being eaten alive by fleas. Last year, she spent US$15,000 of her own money on the cats, with just US$7,000 in donations. The rest of her time, Saul, who is in her fifties, is a tour guide and Airbnb host. The municipality used to poison strays but that programme was scrapped more than a decade ago, said Assaf Brill, head of the citys veterinary service. They rely on volunteers and Saul is one of the citys most active working in areas many Jewish people are unwilling to visit. She started in the Old Citys Jewish Quarter, where she lives in a two-bedroom flat currently filled with five cats and six kittens. Within a few years she has trapped and had spayed all the female cats in the Jewish Quarter. Saul goes on a mission in the Muslim Quarter on an average night. As an Israeli American who speaks only one phrase of badly pronounced Arabic, Allah and Mohammed want big strong men to be nice to animals, she said. There have been a few times where they (Palestinians) have said: What are you doing? And I explain to them and they look at me and they have these big brown eyes, these beautiful eyes, and they say: Wow, thank you. You have a good heart. She usually likes to work between one and five in the morning when the streets are deserted. This night starts earlier. As she enters the Old City and sets up her baited traps three ultra-Orthodox Jewish men stop and stand by the trap. Saul asks them, politely at first, to move on but they refuse. Within a few minutes the scene escalates. The Nazis behaved exactly like that, one man said. Hitler kissed his dog at the same time as sending people to the crematorium. Saul is incandescent. A Jew calling another Jew a Nazi? she shouted. She throws hummus at the man, splattering his back. Police arrive and all four are taken to the station. After half-hearted apologies, they are released without charges, but by now it is nearly 2:30am. Saul heads back to the car to grab her traps. For Jerusalems cat lady, the night is just getting started.

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Jerusalem parents: Say no to haredi-ization of Jerusalem school – Arutz Sheva

Over 200 Jerusalem parents sent an urgent letter to Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), opposing the Jerusalem municipality’s decision to move the religious public school Brandet from its campus in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood in order to use the campus for a haredi school. The parents, all Religious Zionists, submitted an administrative appeal against the the process of moving the school to where the Shefa school currently is, in order to give Brandet’s current building to an independent haredi school. “We absolutely oppose this action, which is not correct educationally and severely harms the National Religious public, as well as the secular and moderate haredi public in Neve Yaakov. And this is besides the fact that the move is not being handled the way the law stipulates it should be,” the parents wrote. The parents also noted that according to Education Ministry policies, an Education Ministry school cannot be moved from its building in order to give the building to an independent school, unless the Ministry approves the move. “This issue is under your and your ministry’s jurisdiction,” the parents wrote. “Besides for the fact that moving our school is not the proper thing to do for the public or the children’s education, it also opposes the Education Ministry’s policies. Therefore, we are asking you not to go along with this process, and not to approve it.” Yisrael Elishevitz, who heads Neve Yaakov’s Religious Zionist community, told Arutz Sheva that “in Jerusalem, there is an extremist haredi group who wants either to divide Jerusalem, or to have a population swap. The religious community has become a black sheep, and the city is turning haredi.” “Now the keys are in the hands of Education Minister Naftali Bennett. He needs to sign a form approving Jerusalem’s decision to move a Religious Zionist school for the sake of a haredi school. “According to the law, such a move requires at least six months prior warning. “I call on Minister Bennett not to give in, and not to sign.”

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Jerusalem Drops Plan to Build Luxury Homes Atop Ancient Palestinian Village – Haaretz

Home > Israel News Jerusalem city council members objected to building 200 luxury villas on abandoned Palestinian village of Lifta, whose future will now undergo further consideration Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter.

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Palestinians to court: remove settlers from Hebron home – The Jerusalem Post

The home in Hebron currently illegally occupied by 15 settler families. (photo credit:TOVAH LAZAROFF) The Abu Rajab family petitioned the High Court of Justice this week to force the state to remove 15 settler families from a three-story building in Hebron. The state and the IDF have until Wednesday to respond. The Hebron Jewish families illegally moved into the structure, known as Beit Hamachpela, on July 24, five years after they first made a purchase claim to the property, which is registered to the Rajab family. The Jewish families have asked the state to allow them to remain until the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria registers the property in their name. Members of the Rajab family have contested the sale. Their attorney, Samer Shadadeh, argued in the petition that the IDFs failure to immediately remove the families breached a legal agreement, which forbade the settlers from using or living in the structure until the Civil Administration authenticated the sale and all legal and bureaucratic procedures were concluded. The settlers should be legally viewed as squatters who have broken into the property, Shadadeh argued. The Rajab family has a right to expect that the IDF would treat them as such, and immediately help the Rajab family by removing them from the building, he said. The lawyer for the Hebron families, Doron Nir Zvi, said it was already clear that the sale would be authenticated and therefore there was no reason to deny the families access to the site. The Defense Ministry has given them the right to purchase the property. The military arbitration court has ordered the Civil Administration to fully review the application by the settlers to register the property in their name. There is no reason to delay here, he said. After the families moved in, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the IDF not to immediately remove them. Since then there have been ongoing discussion between his office, the Defense Ministry, the Civil Administration and the Attorney-Generals Office to explore the familys legal right to inhabit the property. The families have received support from a number of prominent Likud members, including coalition chairman David Bitan, who has made two trips to the City of the Forefathers since they moved in. Authenticating the sale has been complicated in part because the building was inherited by a number of heirs from the Rajab family. Among the issues in question is whether the sale was done through a family member with rights to the property. The structure is located across the parking lot from the Cave of the Patriarchs and next to two schools, in an otherwise Palestinian neighborhood. It is a section of the city that is under Israeli military and civilian control. Share on facebook

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Five terrorists nabbed en route to attack near Jerusalem – Arutz Sheva

Security forces avert terror attack near Jerusalem Thursday, capture five Arab terrorists. David Rosenberg, 10/08/17 17:59 | updated: 18:03 Israeli authorities captured five terrorists on their way to commit a terror attack east of Jerusalem Thursday afternoon. The five terrorists, all residents of the Hevron region in Judea, were arrested in al-Eizariya, a Palestinian Authority-controlled city just east of Jerusalem. The arrest was carried out by members of the Yamam special police force unit of the Border Police in a joint operation with Israel Police. Shortly before the arrest, the Shin Bet internal security agency reportedly received concrete information regarding an attack planned by the terror cell. According to security officials, the terror cell was a ticking time-bomb, Channel 10 reported, and the arrest of the five likely averted an imminent attack.

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Polish villagers hold Jewish wedding without Jews – The Jerusalem Post

Nostalgia for Jews is a well-documented phenomenon in Eastern Europe, with cultural and even substantial commercial aspects. In Ukraine, so-called Jewish-themed restaurants with pork-heavy menus compete for tourists, while figurines of Jews are sold at markets as good luck charms. In Poland, graffiti reading I miss you, Jew have become a common sight. Beyond the kitsch, Jewish cultural festivals draw large non-Jewish audiences in Krakow, Warsaw and Budapest. Some credit this trend to a feeling of loss over the near annihilation of once-vibrant Jewish communities. Others trace it a desire to reconnect with the pre-Soviet past. But even against this backdrop, the fake Jewish wedding that was held Saturday in the village of Radzanw, 80 miles northeast of Warsaw, stands out as a remarkable affair. Make-believe Jewish weddings a regular educational event in Spain and Portugal, where nostalgia for nearly-extinct Jewish communities is also prevalent are rare in Poland (locals in the village of Bobowa organized one in 2013). Even rarer are enactments as well-produced as the one in Radzanow. Organized by the Radzanovia Association, a cultural group promoting Polish heritage, the event featured a few dozen non-Jewish volunteers, men and women, dressed in traditional haredi costumes. Some men wore fake beards and side curls including ones that didnt match their natural hair color. Portraying the groom was Piotr Czaplicki, a journalist for the Radia dla Ciebie station. Czaplicki, who is not Jewish, got under a chuppah the canopy used in traditional Jewish weddings together with his make-believe bride, Julia Brzeziska, a local resident. They were wed by a fake rabbi in a show before villagers, whom the events organizers sought to teach about Jewish traditions. To Jonny Daniels, the London-born founder of From the Depths, which promotes Holocaust commemoration in Poland, events like the one in Radzanw are some kind of therapy taking place all over the country. “Literally hundreds of Jewish cultural festivals are taking place, more often than not with no Jews involved. Poland too has the highest rate of Hebrew language studies in all of Europe,” Daniels continued to The Jerusalem Post. “I truly believe that the third and fourth generation of Poles since the Holocaust are starting to see how much Jewish culture is part of modern-day Polish culture — it’s amazing that this heritage created by 3.5 million murdered Jews is still relevant today.” But the events producer, Agnieszka Rychcik-Nowakowska, sees it as a way of commemorating the hundreds of Jews who had accounted for approximately half of her villages population before the Holocaust. We want to remember all those homes of all pre-war Jews, who lived a peaceful life punctuated by the rhythm of holidays, family celebrations and more mundane events, she told the news site Nasza Mlawa. Jews first settled in Radzanw in 1710, and at their peak numbered about 500. By September 1939, when the Germans took over, the population had dipped below 300. Nearly all who remained would be sent to the Mlawa ghetto, never to return. We remember those who lived here before us and entered the memory of our grandmothers and grandparents. It was so recently, said Rychcik-Nowakowska. Elsewhere in Europe, Jewish-themed festivals are more common , bringing together hundreds of participants. There too, Jewish-themed events are held in the absence of a living, breathing Jewish community thanks to nostalgia and a desire to generate tourism revenue. But in Spain and Portugal, for example, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were oppressed 500 years ago during the Inquisition, the passage of time has made goodwill gestures toward Jews less complicated than in the east. In 2013, Spain and Portugal even passed laws granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews a move whose generosity contrasts sharply with the refusal by Poland and other East European countries to offer even partial restitution for property that was stolen from Jewish communities. At the fake wedding in Radzanw, organizers turned to Teresa Wroska, an actress from the Jewish Theater in Warsaw, to assure the weddings authenticity. She choreographed the entire affair from the signing of the ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract) to the traditional Jewish music played by a band of locals and musicians from the capital. Even the POLIN Jewish museum of Warsaw was consulted in staging the event, according to Nasza Mlawa. The wedding is not the only attempt by Radzanw locals to reconnect with their villages lost Jewish heritage. Last year, a high school student from the region, Cuba Balinski, initiated a project aimed at rededicating and reopening the villages abandoned synagogue a small but beautiful Moorish-style building that miraculously survived the Nazi occupation. Balinski, who has secured the cooperation of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland for his project but is still looking for investors, is adamant about restoring the synagogue to a house of worship rather than having it turn into museum. If there is no Torah in the synagogue, than it is still just a building, he told the news site Gosc Plocki. But if we bring the holy book back, it will come back to life. Jpost staff contributed to this story. Share on facebook

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All you need is love – The Jerusalem Post

Taking a trendy yesteryear adjectival leaf out of the lingo of the day, the epithet fab easily springs to mind on visiting The Beatles exhibition currently in full delightful flow at the Israel Childrens Museum in Holon. The exhibition, which goes by the name The Magical Mystery Tour, is everything you could hope for from a visual, aural and tactile display of memorabilia and cleverly crafted accessories devoted to the worlds most famous pop group. The tour starts out with a short movie that gets you in the mood. It conveys the spirit and sounds of the Fab Four and the zeitgeist of 1960s Britain through subtle musical editing and interweaving animation with real-life film footage. The movie takes you on a whistle stop tour of the bands evolution personally and musically. You follow the temporally brief, but conceptually expansive, continuum from the early rock n roll monochrome days of matching suits and babyfaced smiles through to the psychedelically scented polychromatic hippie era of long hair and substance-affected creativity. Not that the latter is alluded to in the film per se. This is designed to get everyone on board people who are into The Beatles and people who have no idea about them, explains exhibition director Tali Shemer. It is a bit difficult to believe there is anyone on the planet who is unaware of The Beatles, but perhaps that is my Western cultural upbringing coming into play. There are some people who dont know about them, she continues. But whether the visitors know about them or not, they still leave the exhibition with an enriching experience and lots of knowledge. She and museum content manager Tal Rubinstein put a lot of effort into getting the project off the ground. We worked on this for two years, she notes. The exhibition venture, to paraphrase a certain Beatles number, got by with a little help from a generous friend. Just when Shemer was about to give up on the dream, Russian-born Israeli businessman and philanthropist Leonid Nevzlin came into the frame and picked up the tab. That really saved us, says Shemer. We thought this was all going to remain just a great idea we had, until Leonid came along. For my generation, the music of The Beatles and The Beatles themselves were the basic values, says 57-year-old Nevzlin. The Beatles were a symbol of freedom, creativity and love. That was why it was so important for me to convey my love and admiration to my children and to the children of Israel. The exhibition is designed for all comers aged five to 99. As someone who tends to the upper end of that age spectrum, I can vouch for its appeal. Mind you, I did get some of The Beatles vibe of the era back in 1960s northern Britain, but The Magical Mystery Tour is so well devised, it could probably get a Martian into the Fab Four groove. There is much to marvel at visually, but there is also plenty to get into in the hands-on sense. How many of us have ever been to a recording studio? How many of us have, for example, ever seen a sitar, let alone touched one? That can be experienced firsthand in the studio incorporated in the Holon layout. It includes a drum kit, electric guitars, a violin-shaped bass guitar, similar to the famous Hofner model used by Paul McCartney, and a sitar that George Harrison brought to The Beatles musical modus operandi in the mid-1960s. The staged facility is accessed via a corridor with faux red brick walls, adorned with a slew of black-andwhite prints of the group members and some of their professional colleagues, with the sign Abbey Road on one side. And if having actual musical instruments within hands reach werent enough, there is a huge 24-track mixer console on the other side of the studio window. Visitors can move the volume knobs (faders) up and down to get an idea of how the recording engineer plays around with the individual instrumental lines. Fancy hearing how McCartney played his bass part? No problem. Want to add some backing vocals and maybe Ringos drumming? Just move all the faders to zero, and then push up the respective buttons to the volume you want. There is plenty in the way of historical facts on offer as well, to get the visitor into the right place in the 20th century commercial music timeline. One room is full of archival photographs, milestones in the groups evolution across the years, from 1962 through to 1970, when the Fab Four, for all intents and purposes, broke up. The visual esthetics are greatly enhanced by some evocative garb, including the sumptuous threads worn by McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Starr for the iconic cover of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band album, which came out in 1967. The accent on The Magical Mystery Tour is very much on getting stuck in. There are interactive slots right across the board, including a general knowledge quiz about the four Beatles, and kids can actually get up close to a record player. When they get here, the guide asks the children how they listen to music, Shemer explains, on their cell phone, on YouTube or iPad. Then the guide shows them how people once listened to music and puts the [Beatles] LP on. There is also a room where kids, and parents and grandparents, can don Beatles suits from the early days or from the aforementioned Sgt. Pepper style coats, getting on a stage and play a Beatles song. The gig is videoed against a green screen backdrop, unbeknown to the performers, who later get to see themselves in action. Naturally, the visitors get to hear lots of Fab Four sounds as they make their way through the exhibition, which culminates with a lovely creative activity. The last room has a large screen on one wall and a number of stations with small screens and headphones. We took clips of people from all over the world of all ages playing All You Need Is Love we asked their permission to use them and kids can take excerpts from each version and put together their own clip of the whole song, says Shemer. You can see how music and the music of The Beatles connects people from all kinds of cultures. It also helps Israelis of all ages to bond with each other and with the timeless music of the Fab Four. The Magical Mystery Tour exhibition is on display at the Israel Childrens Museum in Holon. For more information: (03) 650-3000 and www.childrensmuseum.org.il Share on facebook

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Israeli Supreme Court Trims Sentence of 13-year-old Behind Jerusalem Stabbing Attacks – Haaretz

Home > Israel News Ahmed Manasra will now serve nine and a half years, not 12, for his role in the stabbing of another 13-year-old and a yeshiva student in 2015 Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter.

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At 70, Jerusalem’s Jewish Studies ‘Olympics’ still a good brain workout – The Times of Israel

Seventy years ago, the first World Congress of Jewish Studies at Jerusalems Hebrew University embodied the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Yocheved Herschlag Muffs. But that was not because of its first-class scholarship: When immigration to British Mandatory Palestine was blocked, the congress offered the New Yorker an unlikely way into the Holy Land. There were no visas; we couldnt get there, to Palestine, the 90-year-old told The Times of Israel this week. And so a ruse was launched: Muffs would be granted documents allowing her entrance provided she could obtain a letter stating she was a Hebrew teacher sent to the conference by a recognized institution. There were only two problems: she didnt really know Hebrew and she wasnt a teacher at a recognized institution. Muffs, a stalwart member of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, had dropped out of college to learn how to milk cows and clean their excrement during farming training camps in Canada. Many of her cohort did in fact teach Hebrew at least part-time and so had little trouble obtaining the required letter. But Muffs was stuck. Yocheved Herschlag Muffs celebrating her recent 90th birthday on August 5, 2017 (Courtesy) Suddenly, she recalled that her old friend Miriam was the office manager at the new Yeshiva of Central Queens. As a favor, Muffs asked her friend for a letter affirming her affiliation with the institution. But Miriam, devoutly religious and from a pious family, was reluctant to falsify information and asked her mother for advice. To go to Eretz Yisrael, you can lie, said her mother. So I got the letter. And then with the letter we went to the British Consulate in New York, in Manhattan. And it was a legitimate letter: I was a teacher there and they were sending me to the conference. And this year its celebrating its 70th year, Muffs said. Although immigration was definitely not the main goal of the first congress, held in July 1947 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus, it was organized with the help of the Jewish Agency, headed by David Ben-Gurion. Prime minister David Ben-Gurion addresses the opening session of the 2nd World Congress of Jewish Studies in 1957. (PMO) At the opening sessions, Bible scholar Naftali Herz Torczyner (Tur-Sinai), head of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University, said, With pride and hesitation, in holy awe and happiness that a cornerstone was laid here for the building of the culture of our nation and our land, we hereby open the First World Congress of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as a foundation stone for a future tradition. That foundation stone laid back in 1947 has turned into a scholarly empire today. Whereas the first conference saw 75 papers presented, this year there were some 1,700 lecturers. Over 3,000 participants attended the 500 panels held during the week-long event August 6-10. For many, some of the most important moments of the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem August 6-10, 2017 were in the meeting points between sessions. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel) Throughout the maze-like compound of the Hebrew Universitys Humanities building, scholars, students and laymen scrambled down its technicolor octagonal halls to take advantage of a multitude of sessions on Bible, language, history, philosophy, literature, archaeology, and many very esoteric subjects relating to the different epochs of the Jewish people. There was a constant audible buzz of activity as participants darted from one session to another, sometimes even leaving in the middle of a session to catch a more favored scholar elsewhere. With dozens of choices in each time slot, the event was like an academics version of binge-watching on Netflix with an option for childcare. Held every four years at Hebrew University since the second congress in 1957, it allows for a meeting of minds between established professors and those who wish to walk in their footsteps. It is a place where smiling emeritus professors are given their due honor, while nervous doctoral students reap the benefits of knowledgable critique. As conceived in its inception, the congress is meant to be a safe space to test new ideas and get feedback that is worth hearing. Fair-like booths at the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on August 6-10, 2017. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel) Winding their way around the plethora of fair-like booths hawking books, computer programs, and private learning institutions, Israels finest and internationally known professors floated in and out throughout the week in an atmosphere of semi-controlled chaos. Whether they come for the common areas kibbitz-fest or to present new research, the camaraderie between the scholars was evident. For some, it is the weeks main draw. Prime minister Yitzhak Shamir (left) and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek flank Prof. Ephraim Urback at the 10th World Congress of Jerusalem Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 1989. (Tzvika Israeli/PMO) Inside the cramped classrooms, there were sessions that could be likened to sporting matches. Tempers flared over finer points, or the audience oohed over the presenters mental gymnastics. In poorly climate-controlled rooms with terrible acoustics, in-jokes abounded as scholars in related fields appreciated the most abstruse niche jargon wordplay. In one session hosted by the Academy of the Hebrew Language, an unresolved impassioned conversation about verb tenses ensued after a presentation about technology soon to be released to the public. In another about Second Temple archaeology, the lecturer and an older participant agreed to disagree on the true basis of why oil lamps changed their form in Judea. This congress is not for the faint of mind: At two hours a pop, mental stamina is required to fully appreciate each sessions four research papers. Personally, the brain of this reporter no scholar began protesting after two PowerPoint presentations on rarified arcana. Thats why it was especially refreshing to hear a midday pick-me-up performance on Wednesday of the Piyyut Ensemble of the Ben Zvi Institute, which launched its new CD Arba Otiyot: Sacred Hebrew Songs from the Saharan Maghreb. After a foot-stomping, hand-clapping good time chased by a cup of joe it was back to the books with a clear head for another marathon afternoon in the Jewish Studies Olympics.

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